One of the most interesting things with both Google and YouTube, two of the giants in successful web services, is that people often use these services without actually going to the Google or YouTube web site. Google search fields and YouTube videos are embedded into millions of web sites.

The web as a delivery platform

The brilliant insight in the design of the YouTube user interface is that the HTML to embed the video is presented there, right on the video page. Many user interface designers would have balked at that, but not those at YouTube. This simple step has helped people to use video, to overcome several steps which were hard or at least cumbersome, for anyone publishing a video on a web site. This is one of the features which together with solid back-end services have made YouTube become more than a video web site. YouTube is a video delivery platform.

With Akvo RSR we are building a project information delivery platform. A platform which makes it easy for you to keep track of projects as they go through their life cycle. Much like a YouTube video, you will set up the project on the Akvo.org web site, but then you should be able to follow your projects without having to come to the Akvo.org web site. “How?” you say. One of the ways will be through Akvo Widgets.

Web widgets in different shapes and forms, under different names are available from many web services. Widgets are a way to easily embed information from another website dynamically into your own web site. Without having to do complicated web programming or configuration.

Akvo widgets

It is clear that Akvo will have some type of web widget or another. Right now we are discussing the different ways of implementing this. Cut and paste Javascript objects, iframes or even special modules for different content management systems. Each have drawbacks and benefits.

Above and below are some conceptual drawings of how Akvo widgets could look. We would love to hear from you. How would you use Akvo widgets? What features would you like them to have?

I used the lovely Balsamiq Mockups to draw these widget mockups and Balsamiq let Akvo have a site license for free. Thanks Peldi!